Education

Mark Regester courtesy of the Documenting Ferguson archive

The library at Washington University in St. Louis is building a digital repository called “Documenting Ferguson.” The collection will provide the community with a space to save the media they’ve captured since the death of Michael Brown.

The online collection is open for anyone to contribute material.The archive will accept photos, audio, video, and written stories.

Shannon Davis is the Digital Projects Librarian at Washington University. She says it’s important to capture this material now before it disappears.

(via Flickr/evmaiden)

The Highland, Illinois teachers’ union reached a settlement with the district’s board of education late Thursday afternoon, ending a week-long teacher strike.  Students will be back in class Friday after missing six days of school.

In a press release, Highland Superintendent Mike Sutton said the new teacher contract is good for three years and includes a provision to make up the missed school days. With school back in session Friday, school-sanctioned activities are now back on the weekend schedule, including the high school football game.

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

Bernice King began her second visit to Riverview Gardens High School by telling students about her own anger. Her father, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was gunned down in his prime. Her uncle, Alfred Daniel Williams King, died amid suspicious circumstances.

King told them about that anger boiling over. She told them about striking a friend in the head with a bottle after an argument. Anxiety filled King while waiting for her friend to wake up after being knocked unconscious.

King told students anger can consume them.

Webster U. website

Elizabeth Robb recalls that when she arrived as a freshman at Webster College from Hopkinsville, Ky., in 1961, if she wanted to leave her dorm room in the evening, a proctor had to sign her out.

When bedtime came – around 10 or 10:30 p.m., as she remembers it, “the proctor came around and made sure you were still in your room and turned off the lights in the hall and your lights went off as well.”

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

In November, voters in Missouri will decide whether to change the way teachers are evaluated and retained by school districts.

Under Amendment 3, teachers would be dismissed, retained, demoted, promoted and paid primarily using student data. It also would put a three-year limit on teacher contracts and prevent teachers from organizing or collectively bargaining on the design of teacher evaluations or how they’re used.  

DESE website

Now that she has announced her retirement at the end of the year, how should Chris Nicastro’s tenure as Missouri’s commissioner of education be graded?

Using the guarded tone of academia, Alex Cuenca, an assistant professor of education at Saint Louis University, gave this assessment Tuesday:

“I think she did the best she could with the circumstances she was given and the cards she was dealt.”

The response from state Rep. Chris Kelly, D-Columbia, who himself is about to leave public service after a long career in the General Assembly, was pithier.

DESE website

Updated 5:01 p.m. with reaction, more details.

Chris Nicastro, whose sometimes controversial tenure as Missouri’s commissioner of elementary and secondary education has been marked by efforts to improve urban schools and the transfer program out of Normandy and Riverview Gardens, announced Monday she will retire at the end of the year.

Stephanie Zimmerman

As legal efforts continue to open the Francis Howell school district to students who want to transfer from Normandy, a new policy shift has increased the pool of students able to transfer to any local accredited district.

The move raises new concerns about the financial survival of Normandy, which was taken over by the state after transfer costs drove it to the brink of bankruptcy last school year.

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

Friday morning a new initiative to help international students find jobs at local companies is being unveiled. Called the International Student Global Talent Hiring Program, the effort is being spearheaded by the St. Louis Mosaic Project, an initiative to make the St. Louis region the fastest growing major metro area of foreign-born residents by 2020.

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

Angelee and Paul Brockmeyer have a soft spot for urban living and fixer-uppers.  

The couple spent five years rehabbing an old home in Chicago.  So, when they decided to pack up and come to St. Louis to be closer to family, Paul spent his weekends scouring the city's nooks and crannies for their next project. 

What they found was a sprawling Victorian in Compton Heights in need of elbow grease and updates.  

“It’s kind of easy to get sold on the whole package when you have this great neighborhood and you really love your house,” Angelee said. 

Debbie Sobeck and her fifth grade class at Kennerly Elementary School discussing the events of Sept. 11.
Julie Bierach / St. Louis Public Radio

How do educators teach about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, especially with students too young to remember the tragedy?  

St. Louis Public Radio File Photo

Even though a campaign to institute tougher evaluation and tenure rules for Missouri teachers is stopping its efforts, opponents of a constitutional amendment on the November ballot say they’re going ahead with their efforts to defeat it.

“We’re going to be campaigning full steam ahead,” Mike Sherman, spokesman for the group Protect Our Local Schools, said in an interview Wednesday. “We still need everyone in the state to vote no.”

knittymarie / Flickr

Updated at 1:50 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6.

Highland Education Association (HEA), the teachers union for Highland Community Unit School District # 5 in the Metro East, has set a strike date for Thursday, Sept. 11.

The union set the strike date following Friday's mandatory contract negotiation scheduled by a federal mediator. The mediator has scheduled another negotiation session for Monday.

(via Flickr/MforMarcus)

Though the national Common Core state standards will still be used to test Missouri students for the current school year, the process to replace them with standards written by Missourians has begun.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education said Friday that groups designated to come up with the new Missouri Learning Standards, as set up by legislation signed by Gov. Jay Nixon in July, will begin meeting later this month in Jefferson City.

(via St. Louis Public Schools)

More than 780 kindergarten through eighth-grade pupils in St. Louis Public Schools who have fallen behind in reading are being held back this school year. That’s double the number of pupils retained last fall, when 372 students did not move on to the next grade.     

Francis Howell website

The superintendent of the Francis Howell school district says that if court rulings continue to favor transfers from the new Normandy Schools Collaborative, as many as 350 students could end up returning to Francis Howell.

Last year, Howell ended the year with 430 students who had transferred under the law that says students living in an unaccredited school district can transfer to nearby accredited districts. Normandy had designated Francis Howell as the district to which it would pay tuition, so most students who left Normandy transferred there.

Art McCoy
File copy | Ferguson-Florissant website

Art McCoy may have a new job with an international focus, but the former superintendent of the Ferguson-Florissant school district says he will still pay attention to the need for better learning in north St. Louis County.

Entrance to Normandy High School campus
(via Google Maps screen capture)

Missouri education officials now say they will pay whatever tuition a receiving district charges for transfer students from Normandy, rather than a lower amount imposed earlier, raising new concerns about the state-run district's ability to survive financially.

Even though the school transfer issue aroused passionate debate last year, the issue still isn't resolved.
Stephanie Zimmerman | St. Louis Public Radio

Take a look at a statewide map showing how districts performance has changed between the past two school years, as well as five takeaways from the report cards.

While St. Louis Public Schools and Riverview Gardens have made solid gains in their push toward accreditation, Normandy finds itself in a deeper hole, earning just 7.1 percent of the possible points in Missouri’s latest list of school report cards released Friday.

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

Read an analysis of the latest school report cards.

Normandy's annual performance score sank even lower than before, down to 7.1 percent of the possible points scored, lowest in the state.

State education officials have been working in the district for weeks, putting into place new techniques designed to improve academic achievement in the district, which was taken over by the state on July 1.

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